Understanding What Your Exceptional Child Can and Cannot Control-New Tips For Easier Exceptional Parenting

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Eureka! I have reached a new way of understanding Michael and it feels so good. This way has been by closely observing many of his behaviors and seeing which ones were a product of his having difficulty controlling his emotions. It turns out that many of his behaviors are a product of lack of impulse or poor impulse control. Sometimes it is due to Michael misreading my signals. Sometimes it is due to him not understanding what is asked of him. I am loving the book “The Impulsive Child” so much, as it is one of those rare finds that reminds us parents that our child’s brain works differently than ours for various reasons and this can and does lead to communication breakdowns. Our children need our help in controlling negative emotions, outbursts, aggression and anxiety. They need the tools and words to express how they feel as no matter how verbal they are, they cannot always tell us.

Tonight and pretty much all this week I have been seeing evidence of when Michael is stuck and failing at communicating his frustrations to me. In the park, he started becoming upset that we would have to leave even though I had warned him we would be going soon. It was a beautiful night, and using one of the book’s rules of categorizing which are the main priorities parents are working on first, I realized that letting him have five minutes more or less in the park was not reason enough to have a power battle. We are working on curbing more aggressive issues at the moment. He liked the five more minutes and we left the park peacefully. Another event happened later this evening. Michael unfortunately had two bouts of low blood sugar. He had cooperated so well with the testing and retesting required, but got into a fight with Dad over Dad not hearing a question he had asked him. It quickly moved from annoyance, to anger, to hitting Dad on the back. Dad could not get through to him about using his words at this point as Michael was angry and screaming. Dad asked me to take over as he was exhausted and needed a break. I’ve used the same technique when I was there. I gently redirected Michael to his room. He sat down on his bed and screamed at the top of his lungs. He tried to break his alarm clock and hit the bed hard. Ordinarily I would have closed the door and told him to come out when he was calm to talk about it. Instead, today I stood in front of him and in a quiet voice asked him, “Can I help you with your anger? Do you want to stay or go?” He stopped screaming and looked at me and said, “Please stay.” Less than a minute later he calmed down.

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We retested his blood sugar after the required waiting time and it was in the normal range. He apologized to Dad, said goodnight and then I went to tuck him in and said good night as well. In bed during the traditional bed time hug, Michael actually said to me, “Thank you for helping me control my anger tonight Mommy. I really appreciate it.” You see, in the past , something like tonight would have ended with something getting broken, more screaming, more yelling (on ours and Michael’s part), and a lot more stress. Tonight, we all managed to stop things before they got completely out of control. Mutual respect, understanding, and using strategies all around is slowly helping us as a family learn how to manage our emotions in a healthy way.

Exceptional Parents, are you really listening to what your Exceptional Child is communicating to you? Do you know what is in and what is beyond your child’s control? Yes, of course our children test us with challenging and provocative behavior. Of course there are times they want attention and time with us, and they may act out not knowing how else to get us to listen. This is why as parents we need to open our eyes and look at what our child’s behavior is really telling us. We need to move beyond consequences and rewards if they are not working, and think to ourselves, what if my child is stuck in some mental mud and just needs a push out? We can be the tractor that helps guide them out slowly. Once they are out on the pavement with us, real communication and learning can begin. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

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Self-Regulation and New Revelations- How Our Exceptional Kids Always Surprise Us!

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Michael has been giving me so many positive surprises lately. I am incredibly grateful, as it makes the challenging moments easier to bear for both of us. He is openly commenting on how he wants to control his aggression and anxiety in a better way, and most of the time is succeeding. He is also more affectionate, calm and appreciative when I am busy. He will understand when I say, Michael I need a minute. And today at bedtime, for the first time in awhile, I got “Mommy, you are the best mother in the world!” This made my week, never mind my night! And not because of the words only. But because it means my little guy and I are FINALLY connecting after months of behavior struggle.  This is bliss and music to my ears!

I always knew that much of Michael’s aggression and anxiety is due to how he misinterprets things that happen, are said, and information is not taken in the same way for him. As I have often said, Michael has a different brain, like all kids and adults who are exceptional. They don’t want to be treated as special. They don’t want pity. They want understanding and compassion and help to make their way in a world that is often totally foreign to the way the see things.

As I have always encouraged Michael’s unique view of the world and learned that when I didn’t, I was crushing his spirit. A compliment  from him and kids like him goes such a long way. I am so happy to be able to reach my child who in so many ways is me, yet not me. He struggled from utero on to hold on in a world that was hostile to him at times. He had a hard entry into this world, but he wanted to be here with us and came. He needed to be here. Whether you believe in a Higher Power or not, special children come into the world the same way all children come into the world, to fulfill a mission, a purpose, to bring hope, to bring their gifts to the world at large. It is our job as parents, and those who work as teachers, therapists and in the health care profession, to make sure our kids get to deliver whatever message they need to bring.

Michael brings light, joy, and hope to so many people who know and love him. He brings this to strangers who beam at him in stores. He brings this to his father and I, his extended family and friends. All I need to remember is to model for Michael the calm happy life. This does not mean the perfect life, but rather the life that is pondered upon, lived in helping others and for others, and in bringing or lighting someone else’s light to live out their full potential.

I have several favorite movies, and the one common theme in them all is that of love, transcendence, and hope that we can change the world by our belief that love heals all, even the most horrendous circumstances and trials. “Life is Beautiful” is one of my most favorite movies for that reason, as that message resonates through right up until the end.

Exceptional Parents, how do you show your Exceptional Child how to heal from anxiety and stress? Yes, showing is the best way to teach! Talking is only part of the plan. By living your message, this is the best way your child will learn from their trials and become stronger. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

Throwing In the Towel When Exceptional Parenting Becomes Exhausting-Why This Mom Take Regular Bubble Baths

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It was a difficult evening with Michael. Not in the way some evenings are difficult. There were not extreme behaviors or aggression, but there was testing, worries as he had a new bus driver who made some mistakes coming home, and lots of it mixed in with wanting Mom to spend LOTS of time with him. I, as well, had had a busy day, and was on alert for the bus being early or late so not my usual serene Mom waiting for Michael to arrive home. He also did not have any homework, so was looking to structure his evening differently. That he did. And for the first part of the late afternoon and early evening it went well. He had his snack, talked to a good friend where he behaved appropriately on the phone, and then had dinner with me. Things started to fall apart with him losing his patience at misunderstandings after dinner, and then though I spent some time playing video games with him as Dad got in late, he became impatient at my playing and demanded his turn before I finished mine.

After that, there was the mini fight to stop what he was doing when it was time for shower (though I had given him warning), and then making a mess with body cream all over the floor just because he thought it was funny. After he finished cleaning it up while I was hanging on to my last shreds of sanity and screaming on the inside, 😉 came the worries about him controlling himself and being able to live peacefully at home without angering anyone on his team. Sigh. I had gotten no housework done, no writing done, and was a bundle of nerves. I had been going non stop since morning, and when usually I take the short time when I arrive home to center myself for Michael, today with the heavy rain and bus being late, it did not happen.

When Michael finally got to bed close to 10:00 pm after a long talk about how much Dad and I love him, how he needed to use his strategies to behave better, I realized I was wiped out.  I reminded myself what the remedy was when my soul was feeling depleted. The ideal? A massage and a Whirpool or Hamamm. Tonight? Not possible, so I did the frugal woman’s version- a long hot bubble bath with a glass of wine and soft piano music playing in the background. This actually was something I now did weekly- the bubblebath, that is, even if it meant I went to bed late. This is how I recharge my batteries- by having a good soak. It gives me perspective on things, and helps energize me for whatever free time I will be engaging in. This is self-care. This is nurturing yourself so as a parent you stay calm for the whole exceptional marathon of parenting, not just the sprint.

Exceptional Parents, what is your go to activity to recharge your batteries when they are low? Remember, there is no one right or wrong answer. It’s whatever reminds you that you are a separate human being with feelings and a body and mind that need a Mommy break. Take that time, whether it is reading, a bath, meditation, watching tv, listening to music. You deserve it. Yes, I got to bed later, but I felt rested and recharged in my soul. That is what will carry me, (and you), farther on your exceptional parenting journey. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

How To Handle Your Exceptional Child’s Positive Emotional Curve Balls

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Ok. So you are probably thinking, what gives? Why am I writing a post about handling POSITIVE emotional curve balls from your exceptional child? The reason is because a lot of times as exceptional parents, we get super wrapped up in what our child is struggling with, what he/she can’t do, or all the bad feelings that come up for us parenting our kids. Yes, there I said it. Things like this is NOT what I signed up for as a parent. I thought I would handle this better. My child needs another kind of parent, or any or all of the above. Yet, sometimes our child will say or do something that truly amazes us. As I mentioned the other day, Michael started talking about God and heaven for the first time in awhile. He brought up prayer. This is the kid who refuses to come to church with me since last fall, and was not taking catechism seriously. I know it is due to his struggles with self-regulation, aggression, irritability, and of course, peer pressure. As he once said to me, “why don’t my friends at school go to church?” He is following, for better or worse, what they are doing. But he asks me to pray with him. He has a rosary by his bed. He talks to his Educator about God. I know when he is ready, he will be himself, not what he thinks others are.

Another beautiful thing he said, was how much he loved spending time with me. He talked happily about our Saturday cooking times, our bike rides, our times at the park. He also has mentioned the things he does with Dad, and though he gets angry with Dad sometimes, he will openly admit he misses him and can’t wait till Daddy wakes up Saturday morning. Yet, then there are times when he makes statements about traveling, family vacations, play dates and how much he is looking forward to doing fun things and how he wants to live at home forever. Unless he finds a condo really close to us. He’ll talk about how he wants to work from home. And he’ll ask about driving, living alone or with roommates or with a parnter.

“I don’t want to be alone. I want to have someone with me one day.”

It is all very innocent still, but as we enter puberty together, I am biding my time to have “the talk” with him in several installments and Dad doing the same thing. Still, knowing that among diabetes food charts, behavior checklists, medication regulation, and new diagnoses possibly looming, I can still have “normal” mother/son bonding is beautiful. I cherish the time we spent at the park, talking, laughing, enjoying music together and getting close. I know that it is the glue that will hold Michael and I together in the rough times when he asks, “please give me a chance. I am trying my best to find ways to stay calm. I want to live peacefully with you and Daddy.” And he is making improvements with the tools we are getting from our Educator, the books I am reading, Michael’s psychiatrist and from my own Mommy heart and soul, as I find the reserves of love I will have always for Michael. I believe it will be enough to help Michael achieve the positive life he deserves.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle the surprising positive moments that pop up when the negative ones are still there with your exceptional child? You steer that wheel with your child and go with their flow! That’s how! Yes, there needs to be rules and structure that help them know that you are the adult in charge. But there must also be flexibility for them as individuals, and for their comments which  could open the communication channels between the two of you. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

5 Things NOT To Do When Managing Your Exceptional Child’s Needs

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In talking with Dad earlier this evening, we both were commiserating about something we often don’t get a chance to talk about. This something is the juggling we and other exceptional parents do on a daily and nightly basis to make sure their exceptional child is on the right track. Some days we miss the mark as we did lately with Michael’s diabetes. Michael has put on some weight as we misjudged foods and portions. Other times, we misjudge how to handle behaviors and a meltdown ensues along with aggression and other stresses. Then, there are the days exceptional parents get it right. We put the bandages on the cuts and bruises of our children’s souls. The other day after a particularly stressful morning where Michael did not want to go into school and eventually missed the bus, he surprised me both in the car and in the walk up to the school door. In the car, Michael admitted that he misses me and he knows he made a mistake not making the bus, but is glad to spend time with me in the car. He also said right before we reached the school door, “Aren’t you going to say a prayer for me now Mommy before I go into school?” I always say a prayer before the bus comes in the morning and before bedtime at night, even though Michael has not joined me in prayer since the fall.

Every morning and every night I do say a good prayer for Michael and all of us. He used to join me, but now among other puberty casualties, religion has joined the ranks. Michael will vehemently say he does not believe in God and that church is boring. The latter is unfortunately true for him, but then will ask me to pray for him or ask questions about God. He even once asked if he is going to Heaven one day as he is having a hard time listening to us. I responded that God forgives everything and that his relationship with God is between him and God. Still, all of this gave me food for thought. Our kids really do get things and we have a chance to be a positive influence even in difficult times.

With all of this, here is what I have learned about what NOT to do when juggling your exceptional child’s issues:

  1. Don’t try to do it all yourself: Been there, done that so many times and even made myself more of a martyr when all I needed to do was ask for help from Dad and others.
  2. Don’t beat yourself up when you mess up: Also been there, done that. There will be days you will make mistakes as a parent. There will be days when you blow things out of the park.  Learn from the bad and remember the good so you can keep on doing it.
  3. Believe in the cliche- in every cloud there is a silver lining: This is a tough one, but it has always been on my most gut wrenching days of motherhood that Michael has gifted me with an eye opening revelation of what he is capable of good and bad, and what I am capable of good and bad. Both of us have grown from this experience and gotten closer in the long run.
  4. Ignoring your gut and your child’s reaction to a therapy or therapist: Always, always, always trust in your own gut reaction and your child’s reaction (negative or positive), to a therapist or therapy. You will never be wrong.
  5. Never neglect yourself or your partner including when things are at their worst: This is the toughest of all. Our family has been through a very challenging six month period. We are all collectively and individually coming out of depressions, anxieties and stresses that exceptional families live with due to a child’s intense emotional and physical issues. When I was neglecting myself and Dad himself, it made things worse for Michael and for us as individuals as well as as a couple. Now we are slowly rebuilding as a couple, as individuals and as parents. One day at a time.

Exceptional Parents, what do you want other parents to avoid when handling multiple exceptional family stresses? What do you wish to impart to them? I believe we all have (and all our families), our own version of internal wisdom of our children, ourselves, and our situations. We need to tap into that wisdom, learn from our mistakes, embrace change, and know that there is a force greater than us in the universe guiding us and our child to their best possible life. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

How Great Parenting Books Can Help You On Your Exceptional Parenting Journey

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As a writer and someone whose learning style is very visual, I have always gotten so much from books- fiction and non-fiction alike. As I reached adulthood and realized I had a lot of questions that needed answering about my spirituality, anxiety and other issues, I turned to spiritual and self-help books along with my usual fiction fare. Then, when I became a parent and had so many questions about motherhood, I relied on a lot of great parenting articles and books out there. This did not change when Michael was diagnosed with autism. In fact, though I gradually learned that I was the one who had to put all the information of how to raise him and bring out his best light as well as be his advocate, books helped light the way for me as much as my family and his amazing educational team did. There were so many that have influenced me.

Today, I would like to share the titles of two that are helping me and Dad on our next journey of co-parenting Michael- that is, in his our journey of helping him handle ADHD, ODD,  along with autism and his diabetes, and all the mood swings that puberty is enhancing. I don’t believe that any one theory will hold all the answers for a parent. It is rather ideas in books, people you talk to, professionals, and of course, using your own parenting instinct to say that you feel this is working or that is not. It is so important though, for parents to be open to trying new things with their child when old things are not working. We are there now with Michael. Some tried and true things are helping tremendously. Others are no longer working. Then, there are the things that are no longer working. This is why when a Mom friend recommends a therapy, book or practitioner, I always try it. You never know.

On that note, here are the two books I am highly recommending to parents whose children are struggling with ODD and ADHD, behavior issues, aggression, and who are suffering (along with their parents) through rough times. “The Everything Parent’s Guide To The Defiant Child” by Jesse Jayne Rutherford and Kathleen Nickerson, PHD. It gives a great outline of how to build up your relationship with your child so that trust can be established again. Another amazing one that I am still reading is “The Explosive Child” by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D. I’d heard about this one for years and it had been on my reading list, but in the busyness of life, I had forgotten about it. Then, when things came to a very intense head this fall, a Mom friend had recommended it. I am so glad she did. The author, Dr. Greene, describes real life cases of families (both parents and children) struggling with a loved one who has anxiety and aggression, and how new methods of parenting and looking at one’s child and how they handle life’s stresses can have a big impact. I think so many parents can and will see a lot of their child’s struggles as well as the parents’ in reading this book. They will also get great ideas that they can start to implement in their parenting structure.

Regardless, in the end, it’s about knowing that even on your toughest day you are not alone as a parent handling a difficult child. Your child is also not the only difficult child struggling. What I always remember is all Michael’s promise and the beauty he brings into my life and the world. I want that beauty to continue to unfold, and not have any of his issues hold him back. On my darkest days as a parent or on his as a child, I always remember. Tomorrow is another day. As parents, we must never give up. Keep digging and seeing our child’s potential and teach them ways to believe in themselves and start again.

Exceptional Parents, what’s on your reading list of  favorite parenting books? Do you have any books that have helped you feel empowered as a parent as much as they have helped your child? Remember, you will not have all the answers in raising your child. No parent does. That is why keeping your eyes and ears open to what others around you are recommending they’ve tried, is a good tool to use in your parenting toolbox. In the end, you will narrow down what works and what doesn’t for your family. Just don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone, and especially branch out if things are not working. You owe that much to your child and to whatever gift they will bring into the world as they get older. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

5 Ways To Know You’ve Found The Right Therapy Team For Your Exceptional Family

 

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From the very second Michael was diagnosed, I knew our lives had changed forever. At first, of course, like all new exceptional parents, I did not trust my own parenting instincts. I did not think I could parent my child, let alone find the right help for him to get him to communicate with us. I also was worried that I would not be able to pick the right therapy team for Michael. How could I when there was so much choice out there, good and bad, and how would I weed out the good from the bad? In those days I prayed hard to God to lead me to the right people. Those parents I spoke to later on who were not religious or spiritual also spoke of relying on something bigger than them in the universe that would lead them. And lead them (and me) this force, whatever you want to call it, did.

I was lucky to find the right adapted preschool for Michael, the right adapted school that he is flourishing in now, and in between, the right therapies, both private and public, that have made all the difference in Michael’s and our family life. Today after work as I made my way to see Michael’s educator, I felt very fortunate indeed to speak to her about Michael’s progress and difficult areas, to fill her in on our last visit to the psychiatrist and what was happening with his diabetes. I was happy to share the progress that he has been making thanks to a lot of her suggestions to us and him, and happy to know that even when talking about the rough parts, she would be armed with information to share the help Michael and us on our family journey. She is often full of great ideas, and will ask if I am familiar with a technique or behavioral intervention before she introduces it. She knows that I did training in ABA and work with special needs families, so am aware of many of the techniques used to help children on the spectrum and with ADHD.

What I love most of all, is the trust and respect she puts in me and Dad to parent Michael. That is the same trust I have encountered with previous therapists, Michael’s psychiatrist, and his school teams, both past and present. I have also hard resounding, “It’s a pleasure to work with you and your husband. You both want to learn and help Michael be all he can be.” A parent needs to hear this to have the courage to go on in tough times and on tough days. This is also want you want from your team, as the one thing I have learned from the beginning of Michael’s diagnosis is that the parent is the child’s best advocate and help. If we can’t guide the time,  no one can. After all, no one knows your child as best as you do.

When I can feel comfortable disclosing ANYTHING to therapists, and I can see and feel their admiration and pride in Michael and in his future possibilities, I also know I have found the right person or people to help us guide Michael to his full potential. Here are 5 things to look for to know you have found the right therapist or therapy team:

  1. The therapist respects your child for who they are.
  2. The therapist cooperates and suggests strategies that are in line with your family’s values system.
  3. The therapist is happy to give you “homework” or things that you can do with your child, alone with your partner and as a family to help your child grow and have the best possible outcomes.
  4. No one talks about your child being less than or bad. Your child’s brain works differently than yours and you and they need to find ways to connect halfway to have positive interactions.
  5. You feel better after working with them as does your child. You apply the techniques they suggest and many work.

Exceptional Parents, how did you go about picking your child’s therapy team? How happy are you with them? If the answer is not positive, it’s time to ask around for new people to add to your team. The best results and the happiest families come when they work with the right therapists, interventions and techniques that are right for their child and family. This is not a ‘one size fits all’ dynamic. There is sometimes much trial and error. The things to trust are your child’s reaction to the person and your own gut reaction. If it is positive, keep them on your team. If not, cross them off the family team and go back to the drawing board. You and your child will be much better off long term. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

Keeping The Emotional Bond and Handling The Distance Of Your Exceptional Child

So puberty has hit our household, and with it comes new demands and issues-hormonal and otherwise. Michael still needs my love and hugs, but I can see the times he is starting to pull away from me and Dad, in a healthy way. Then there is the not so healthy turning to friends and peer groups that offer the challenges of silliness, swearing and other “forbidden” at home topics. This is where I am still getting my feet wet as an exceptional mom, but getting there. I find myself asking the question Michael’s preschool teachers first told me to ask myself when he was three years old, “if he did not have any  challenges, would you dress him or have him learn to dress himself?” Now the question is at eleven years old, “if he did not have any challenges, would I be telling him who to hang around with or what not to say?” Of course, the answer to both questions is yes, I would be doing my best to teach Michael independence, and if he made a mistake with dressing or choosing the wrong crowd, step in and gently steer him in the right direction. I am lucky that he is still listening and values his bond with Dad and I.

Of course, he still needs to learn from mistakes. When he got in trouble at school for being silly with a friend and lost his recess by having to stand on the wall, he was very upset. He told me it was not fair. I told him that he was warned by the teacher on duty if he continued not listening the consequence would be no recess the next day. He had to pay that consequence for not heeding the warning. Yes, he has attentions issues and hyperactivity.  Yes, he has autism and some rigidity issues. But that is not an excuse to not follow the rules. At home as well, Dad and I are seeing a lot of “tween” rebellion. It is both exciting and stressful along with navigating other things. However, I have to think. He has to go through puberty with us, his neuro typical parents, who although can relate to some of his stressors, cannot truly know what is inside his head. We are all learning together. We are learning to continue confiding in each other, giving each other space, and forgiving one another when we make mistakes.

Exceptional Parents, how are you faring in puberty if you are at that stage? Is it harder than the delayed terrible two’s? Remember, your child is feeling things twice as intensely as you, so compassion is in order as well as patience with them and yourself. Treat your child as you would any child, while at the same time keeping in mind that some things may need to be tweaked or adapted in helping our kids understand their emotions more clearly. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

Seeing Your Exceptional Child Soar-How Your Belief In Them Causes A Ripple Effect

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It was the morning of Michael’s first non adapted art class on Saturday. He had wanted to take this class since last year, but I had been afraid. His aggression had peaked last year at home to new scarier levels. I also had spoken to the coordinator of the program who had gently suggested that it may be a good idea for me to either shadow him or wait in the room to see if I was needed the first class as she was not sure if she would have an assistant. If not, I could wait outside the class. I was so tired, physically and emotionally as a Mom, that I did not see myself as having energy to shadow. I also thought that what if Michael tried the class on his own, and due to his high anxiety and difficulty controlling his stress, was not able to do the class and became frustrated? For both our sakes, I told Michael we would talk about him taking this class when he started listening better at home. I wanted him to have success and felt in my gut that he was ready to try new things.

This spring, exactly one year later, thanks to a combination of good strategies, medication and maturity, Michael is in a better place emotionally at home and even at school. He is learning how to talk about his feelings and not “push down” his anger.  However, he was still incredibly scared to take this class alone, that is, without a shadow or me in the room. This year though, I knew he could do it and I could do it. That is, I could let go and trust him to handle it. I also realized I could remind him he had support at school. Michael spoke to his teacher and the school psychologist. Both encouraged him that he could face his fears on doing this class and succeeding, just like he had faced his fears in the past and succeeded. With lots of encouragement from them and additional from Dad and I, Michael tried his first “creating with clay” sculpture class last Saturday. The result? Success! I had told administration about his autism, and that I would be outside waiting for him should there be a need for assistance or any other problems. They had not informed the teacher or her assistant, but both had figured out that Michael was a little different. Both had embraced that difference, having had experience teaching children with autism and ADHD. Both had told me how calm, smart and polite he was. Yes, he needed a little extra assistance, but was very good at creating and loved art. They saw his promise and joy. They helped him soar!

During a bathroom break, the teacher came out to speak to me and tell me how well he was doing. You see, I had also been worried as the class was ninety minutes. Michael usually had a hard time with a sixty minute class, unless it was swimming as he was very active and had a difficult time sitting still in the past. His worries that it would be too long for him were unfounded for both of us though. The first words he spoke to me when I stepped inside to pick him up at the end of the class?

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“Mommy, I had such a good time! I could not believe how fast ninety minutes went!”

Tears threatened to pour down my cheeks as he proudly showed me his first work of clay which he would get to bring home in three weeks, then promptly hugged both the teacher and assistant telling them and me how he could not wait to go back to class next Saturday morning!

Timing. Timing sometimes is everything for our children and for us. I was not in the right frame of Mommy mind last year to believe in Michael. Frankly, I was having a hard time believing in myself as a Mommy to Michael too, though I knew I loved him and was not giving up on finding the right help for him. I asked other parents what worked and didn’t work for them. I read articles. I spoke to his school team, and finally made the call to get more help in our community for Michael, encouraged by supportive family members. All of this was happening as I was succeeding on the work front to help families. It was hard to live through, but I made it. Michael made it. And now life is not perfect, but we are finding the balance together. I always remember to tell Michael I believe he can do anything. This way my voice becomes his voice. Parents are their child’s best advocate until the child learns to become their own advocate.

Exceptional Parents, how do you help your Exceptional Children soar? I’m sure it’s by telling them that no matter what, you believe in their ability to do anything they set their mind to. Yes, sometimes the timing is off to try something. That is ok. That’s life. It’s important you remind them that when the time is right, you believe they can do it and then follow through. Remember, as their advocate, they believe what you do even more than what you say. Actions speak louder than words. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

Celebrating The Victories In Hard Times-5 Tips To Be A Happier Exceptional Family

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Things have been getting easier on many fronts in our family over the last two months, but that does not mean that there are not many hard moments that Michael has to navigate as an individual, and Dad and I have to navigate as his parents as well as all of us as a family. During those challenging hours and days, I now remind myself to look at all the little victories along the way, both Michael’s and ours. For example, we are all learning more about self-care, using strategies to control our more intense emotions, and by seeing the good things Michael does along with the positive things he has accomplished in the last six months, we are learning that we can control the outcome of what will be.

When Michael sees we believe in him, he believes more in himself. He has been disclosing a lot of the negative feelings he has been having quite honestly and maturely lately. When he has his outbursts and loses control, he is also reigning himself in more quickly and learning from his past mistakes.

I like to see how is asking us for help. He is even speaking to the school psychologist when something is bothering him now. Both myself and his classroom teacher have encouraged him to ask when he needs to talk about something stressing him out. It is never good to push emotions down. It is also important to be honest when we are angry, need a break, and need to cry. He is starting to handle all of these types of feelings honestly, and I am proud of him for that.

So the tips I can offer families on how to see the good moments in the hard times go as follows:

  1. Celebrate any progress your child has made.
  2. Celebrate the progress you as a parent have made in understanding your child.
  3. Celebrate how your child catches their mistakes and learns from them, even after the fact.
  4. Celebrate that the whole family can grow stronger, even from the painful moments.
  5. Celebrate how your child is opening your eyes up (and the world’s), to what they are capable of achieving.

Exceptional Parents, how many times have you felt down for them and you when your child has had a rough few weeks or months? I’m sure there have been good moments in there if you think back. It’s important to hang on to those good moments as proof of what your child is truly capable of. They have a wonderful spirit and gift that they will offer the world, if only they can be given the chance with the right tools to shine and be their best. It is up to us to remember to show them to shine their light. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com